This month’s Recipe Redux challenge was a fun one- it’s Tuesday, so we’re making tacos! Tacos are a great way to add lots of vegetables (and even fruits) to your diet in a family-friendly, time-friendly manner. While you could go in pretty much any direction with this challenge, I decided to draw inspiration from the ingredients found in my Boston Organics box: shallots, mixed herbs, and radicchio.
Of course, that’s not enough on its own, so I figured shredded chicken would fill the protein role in this dinner. I felt like more vegetables were necessary, so some raw bell pepper could add crunch and fiber. And naturally, no taco is complete without cheese- cotija cheese, which is similar to mozzarella in flavor but crumbles like feta, would round out the fillings.
As for the shell, there are two good options- corn tortillas or whole wheat flour tortillas. Both are made of whole grains (yes, ground corn counts as a whole grain, as does popcorn!), so it’s up to you which you like better. I don’t love the texture of corn tortillas, so I went with small whole wheat flour tortillas. If you want crunchy instead of soft shells, look for baked corn shells that have no added sugar or salt.
First things first, I baked 3 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt, for about 35 minutes (until the internal temp reached 160F). While the chicken baked, I prepped the rest of the ingredients.
I thinly sliced the radicchio, pepper, and shallots, de-stemmed a variety of herbs, and crumbled some cheese.
I also picked out the seasonings to go on the chicken- I decided on a splash of apple cider vinegar, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and salt. At the last second, I added a squirt of sriracha.
To fancy things up a bit, I made a crispy shallot and herb topping- it’s a lot easier than it sounds! All you have to do is heat up a thin layer of oil in a saute pan to the point where it begins to smoke. Add the thinly sliced shallots (it will sizzle like crazy) and begin stirring immediately. After a minute or two, the shallots will begin to turn deep brown. Add the herbs only in the last few seconds of frying, then use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the herbs and shallots. Place on a paper towel to drain and immediately season with salt. The shallots and herbs will get crispy as they dry out.
Using the same oil, I heated the radicchio until it just started to wilt. I also seasoned this with a bit of salt as radicchio can be extremely bitter.
When the chicken was cooked through, I plopped all 3 breasts into the bowl of my stand mixer with a generous sprinkle of all the seasonings.
I turned the mixer on to the lowest setting and within seconds, voila! perfectly shredded chicken. I tasted the chicken and adjusted seasonings, and then the tacos were ready to assemble.
I started with a warm tortilla, then a layer of julienned bell pepper, then a generous portion of chicken and radicchio, a thin layer of the crunchy herbs and shallots, and of course some cheese. A lime wedge rounded out the plate nicely.
All around, this meal had a little bit of everything- soft, melty, meaty, crunchy, fresh, bitter, and savory. And it took very little time and energy to prepare! I’ll definitely be making this one again.
- 3 chicken breasts
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small shallots
- Assorted fresh herbs, cook's choice
- 1 large head of radicchio
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 block cotija cheese
- Salt, chili pepper, onion powder, cumin, sriracha, apple cider vinegar- to taste
- Small whole wheat tortillas
- Lime wedges, for serving
- 1) Preheat oven to 375F. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and place in a baking pan. Bake until cooked through, about 35-40 minutes.
- 2) Meanwhile, slice the shallots, radicchio, and bell pepper into very thin strips. Crumble the cheese and set aside.
- 3) Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add the shallots and stir to prevent burning. When the shallots are becoming dark brown, add the herbs and toss. Quickly remove shallots and herbs to a paper towel and season with salt.
- 4) Turn the heat down to low and let the oil cool for a few minutes. Add the radicchio with a very small pinch of salt and toss until just starting to wilt. Remove from heat and set aside.
- 5) When the chicken is cooked through, shred in a stand mixer or with forks and season to taste.
- 6) Layer tortillas with bell pepper, chicken, radicchio, crispy shallots and herbs, and cheese. Serve tacos with a lime wedge.